How do I know that file is secure?

How do I know that file is secure?

Welcome to “Ask Deb from QA,” a new column from MxD.

Every week, Deb from QA — with decades of experience on the factory floor — will answer your questions to demystify and explain the digital manufacturing industry.

Please submit your questions to

Hello Deb,
My factory has pivoted to making reusable face masks during the pandemic. How do I know the files I’m downloading (right now, but really, during any time) are secure and aren’t full of malware?

I don’t mean to put the “Deb” in “Debbie Downer,” but the truth is you can never be sure a file is 100% malware-free. But look, I can’t 100% guarantee you won’t get hit by a cement truck either

Cybersecurity is about risk reduction, and there are things you can do to get your chance of infected files pretty darn close to zero. (Pro tip: Don’t text and walk next to a cement mixing plant.)

First, it may go without saying, but make sure your computer has malware detection software installed. This alone will do more to bring down the risks than many other measures. 

You also want to make sure you’re downloading files from a trusted source. If your factory is looking to manufacture reusable surgical face masks, there’s a very good chance the National Institute of Health’s 3D Print Exchange is a site you can trust. Don’t click on just any random site you Google!

Depending on your IT setup, downloading files onto company computers might be better than downloading onto personal equipment. Your corporate computers may have additional plugins to safeguard you from infected files. I’d consult your company’s IT department, if you have one.

The main thing I want you to hear is to layer your defensive measures. Think of your computer system like a castle. First, build high walls. Then build a moat. Then fill the moat with crocodiles. Each time you add a safeguard, the chances of intruders decrease. If one defense fails, the other ones back you up. 

Assuring quality,

Deb from QA wants to hear your questions. Send ‘em to and she’ll answer as soon she’s done with her shift.